Kansas wins the National Championship; UNC blows early lead

Kansas+wins+the+National+Championship%3B+UNC+blows+early+lead

Melvin Harris, theSCORE Editor

The Kansas Jayhawks beat the UNC Tar-Heels 72-69 after being down by as much as 16 points. The Jayhawks were able to rally back and flip the script to overcome the UNC’s lead. 

The game started off very competitive, with a solid back and forth from both teams. However, Carolina took charge halfway through the first half. 

It was a collective effort for the Heels in the first, with solid contributions from center Armando Bacot, RJ Davis and Brady Manek. Not only were their buckets coming consistently, but the Heels were able to hold down the paint as well.

Kansas struggled early near the perimeter and could not get good and easy looks at the rim. This led to a strong lead for Carolina going into the second half. 

However, the tides changed pretty quickly as Kansas started off the second half with an electric alley-oop and would continue to go on a 22-8 run to make it 48-47. 

Carolina Head Coach Hubert Davis made a coaching decision to put in guard Puff Johnson for guard Leaky Black. This proved to be a good move as Johnson would go on to provide 11 points and 6 rebounds off the bench. 

Unfortunately for UNC, Johnson’s performance wasn’t enough. UNC’s backcourt Caleb Love and Puff Johnson struggled in the second half to create their own shots as they did in previous games in the tournament. Additionally, Bacot went down again after messing up his right ankle.

In the final minutes with Bacot being out, Kansas attacked the paint and extended their lead to three. Carolina was able to get a couple of shots up from Love and Davis but could not convert when needed. 

Kansas Head Coach Bill Self was able to lead this team to his second national title. Self believed in his team all throughout the tournament and during the season. Despite the fact that they were down big in the first, he knew if they could play better the game would be in their hands. 

“I told them we need to play better,” coach Bill Self said after that game. “And the lid was going to come off eventually.”

Coach Davis led the Heels to the national title game in his first season as Head Coach and he couldn’t be more pleased with the work his players put in this season. 

“I can’t be more proud of the group I Just coached this year,” Davis continued. “I told them that I desperately wanted them to have experiences, stories and testimonies of their own. Along the ride they added more stories, testimonies and memories for me as a a coach and for that I’m thankful.”

This was Kansas’ fourth national title as a program. The Jayhawks will be heavy favorites going into next season. 

One thing is certain, the blue bloods are still dominating college basketball.